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Afghanistan: Refugee Returns Should No Longer Be a Cause for Celebration in Kabul

Afghanistan lately boasts few reasons for optimism. But on the short list that international community representatives and Afghan government officials regularly point to as cause for optimism, one holds pride of place: the fact that 5 million refugees have returned to their homeland since 2001.

Indeed, returnee statistics headline the Government of Afghanistan's report card of achievements in its National Development Strategy adopted earlier this year.

Following the removal of the Taliban, Afghans who had sought refuge in camps in Iran and Pakistan started returning. Again and again, the government and aid groups held up this single fact as evidence of something right about the country, and justly so. Had intervention not toppled the Taliban, most of the 5 million refugees would still be languishing abroad. Though they had left Afghanistan during different periods over the past three decades, and for differing reasons, they returned united in the hope of building a stable and prosperous future.

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Aunohita Mojumdar is an Indian freelance journalist based in Kabul.

Afghanistan: Refugee Returns Should No Longer Be a Cause for Celebration in Kabul

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